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US Lawmaker Rejects Israeli’s ‘Oppressive Conditions’ for West Bank Visit


U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib listens to a question from a constituent during a Town Hall style meeting in Inkster, Michigan, U.S. August 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
US Lawmaker Rejects Israel's 'Oppressive Conditions' for West Bank Visit
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United States Representative Rashida Tlaib has changed her plans to visit the West Bank, saying she would not enter Israel under “oppressive conditions.”

Tlaib wrote that accepting conditions placed on her “stands against” everything she believes in. Her comments were published on the social networking service Twitter.

Her tweet came hours after Israel’s Interior Ministry approved Tlaib’s request to travel to the West Bank on “humanitarian grounds.”

On Thursday, Tlaib asked the interior minister for permission to go there so she could visit her grandmother. In her letter, she promised to “respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel.”

Earlier Thursday, Israel said it would deny Tlaib and U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar entry for an official visit.

Tlaib and Omar are strong critics of Israel and its policies toward Palestinians. The two are members of the Democratic Party and have expressed support for the BDS movement. BDS is short for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. The group wants to pressure Israel economically into withdrawing from the West Bank and has other goals.

Last month, the two lawmakers voted against a congressional resolution which condemned the BDS movement.

Israel had approved an earlier request by Tlaib and Omar to visit the country. The Israeli denial came on Thursday after a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump. In it, the president said that it would show “great weakness” if Israel permitted their visit. Later, Trump said the two lawmakers were “very anti-Jewish and very anti-Israel.”

Tlaib, a representative of Michigan, and Omar, of Minnesota, had planned to visit East Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank next week. The visit would have included a tour partly organized by a Palestinian group.

Omar is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia. She said the Israeli government’s ban on her entry prevented her from fulfilling her duties as a member of Congress.

Tlaib tweeted a picture of her Palestinian grandmother, saying she “deserves to live in peace & with human dignity.”

The two first-term members of Congress have repeatedly disagreed with Democratic Party leaders on a number of issues. And they have strongly criticized U.S. Middle East and immigration policy.

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

Katherine Gypsum reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

promote – v. to assist or help

divestment – n. the act of selling off business interests or investments

sanction – n. a punishment threatened for disobeying a rule or law

tour –n. an activity in which you go through a place in order to see and learn about its different parts

fulfill v. to carry out; to bring to reality

dignity – n. worthy of respect or honor

deservev. to do something worthy of praise or recognition

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